Saturday, January 07, 2006

The Hammer gets Nailed

Yesterday, I blogged on the mutiny within Republican ranks against suspended, indicted and joined-at-the-hip-to-Jack-Abramoff Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

Make that former Majority Leader Tom DeLay. Today, the man who can count votes as well as anyone, resigned his post, apparently after concluding that the mutineers had the votes to fire him.

There are three points which need to be made though.

The first one is this: Yesterday, I pointed out that these same House Republicans had backed DeLay through all the many years of unethical behavior and months of gathering trouble. True, there were a handful of Republicans who were saying that DeLay had to go months ago (primarily Chris Shays, R-CT and Jeff Flake, R-AZ), but it is worth noting that the rest of the House Republicans supported him until the polls out this week that I posted on yesterday. So it seems that ethics matters less to these guys than their re-election prospects. We need to continue to allude to these polls and the Abramoff plea agreement in explaining the sudden shift against DeLay. If House Republicans were interested in ethical leadership, they could have done what they did this week a long time ago (I think his second or third reprimand by the ethics committee-- I'm even a guy who is willing to give people a second chance-- would be good enough notice that he wasn't the kind of guy that they would want in a leadership position).

The second point to be made is this: Keep a close watch on the race to be named permanent majority leader. The immediate leading candidate is Roy Blunt of Missouri, the Majority Whip who has been acting as Majority Leader since DeLay had to step aside. But I blogged on Blunt when he took the position: A second chance to elect honest leadership and they still blow it. Blunt is DeLay without the attitude. His ties to Mr. DeLay are well known, and his kickback scheme that involved DeLay's charity as well as his own is highly questionable. We will see what happens, but if Republicans elect Roy Blunt to replace Tom DeLay then it will be clear that their 'move to remove' was motivated by polls only, not by any ethical considerations. Replacing Tom DeLay with Roy Blunt would literally be a move to replace Tweedle Dee with Tweedle Dum.

The third point that needs to be made is this: Regardless of the fate of Tom DeLay, the money he raised, and it now is becoming more and more clear, unethically and in many cases illegally in his fanatical quest to 1) create a Republican majority in Texas, and 2) maintain a Republican majority in Congress, has reached into nearly every district in the country at some level. I doubt if these Republicans will resign their seats, but as Democrats we need to continue to make the point in local races that many Congressmen had their seats bought and paid for by DeLay/Abramoff money.

NOTE: IF you read the preceding post, be aware that a couple of commenters pointed out a pair of errors in it. In keeping with our 'You-find-an-error-then-get-a-public-retraction-and-credit' policy here at Deep Thought, the error has been identified and retracted publically, and the people who pointed it out have been given credit. On the other hand, this is the third and fourth time I've had to do this on over 200 posts on Deep Thought so I am willing to continue to stand by a record of accuracy.


Anonymous said...

Good points, Eli. Here's some more stuff on Delay:

Ethics Issues Snared GOP's Champion
January 8, 2006;

On one side of the machine, a hose vacuumed the pockets of large corporations, wealthy individuals and legions of lobbyists on K Street, all instructed by DeLay to contribute only to Republicans. Out the other side, at some later date, came legislation of interest to many of the donors. Inside the machine, twisting its knobs and pulling its levers, was DeLay -- who was unabashed about his pay-to-play philosophy and relentless in enforcing his political rules.

More at WaPo article, here.

Day by Day said...

Well said Eli...

Also, I find that you are a man of much accuracy... it takes a man to admit his inaccuracy. ;)